Good reads.


I’ve had plenty of time to read while I’ve been off work…I thought I’d share my impressions of some of the books I’ve been going through!

The New American Herbal – Stephen Orr (2014, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, New York)

Need a comprehensive (and I do mean comprehensive) herbal?  Look no further.  This may be one of the most detailed and beautifully-photographed books about herbs available to readers today.  Over 125 species from the common to the unusual are profiled, complete with growing tips and uses and a handful of recipes.  A must-add for the gardening bookshelf – I can see myself consulting this one over and over again.

Inchies:  Create Miniature Works of Art Using Textiles and Mixed Media Techniques – Peggy Donda-Kobert, Editor (2015, Search Press, California)

I am not terribly talented an utter failure when it comes to doing crafts and art: I can’t knit, crochet, felt, sew, quilt, spin, scrapbook, fold origami, tat, quill, draw, paint…well…you get the idea.  I do know how to embroider, though, and when I recently saw these “inchies” on a website, I was intrigued.  No, make that obsessed.  Once my wrist heals, this is going to be a dedicated pursuit.  The really cool part about inchies is that they’re adaptable to pretty much any art or craft discipline – which means that you quilters and lace makers and felters might really get a kick out of them.  Plus, they’re a fun way to use up fabric scraps, beads, and other embellishments.

The Flower Recipe Book – Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo of Studio Choo (2013, Workman Publishing Company, Inc., New York)

Oh yeah, I failed to mention above that I can’t arrange flowers, either.  But that didn’t stop me from drooling over this insanely creative and inspirational book.  If you’re a florist, or just love to bring cut flowers indoors to admire, this book is chock full of breathtakingly gorgeous arrangements using 41 plants as bases “ingredients” for “recipes” that feature each individually as well as grouped with other flowers and floral elements.   One of the best things about this book is these are plants you’re probably growing in your garden:  sunflowers, roses, alliums, stock, carnations, hydrangeas, etc..

These ladies also have a Wreath Recipe Book using the same layout and staggeringly fabulous photography.

Green Art:  Trees, Leaves, and Roots – E. Ashley Rooney with Margery Goldberg (2014, Schiffer Publishing Ltd., PA)

This very cool art book features the work of primarily American artists of a wide range of disciplines, all interpreting the subject of trees (and tree parts).  From metal, wire, clay and wood sculpture, glass, paint, etching, light, outdoor installation – even fire and gunpowder(!), these works are as varied as the artists that have created them.  An absolute delight to pore through…and to be inspired by.

 What books have inspired you lately?  




  1. Sheryl: I knew you were my kinda girl.

    So glad to hear that you cannot knit or sew, arrange flowers or draw or those other things too. Strangely enough, I liked and really was good at embroidery at school. Embroidering clothes, that is – not just excuses for neglecting my homework.

    • Aha! – fabulous to know that, Cynthia! I thought I might be the only one! And that you like(d) embroidery, too – what a happy coincedence!

      (I love your comment about embroidering excuses!). 😉

  2. Thanks for sharing. I’ll have to take a closer look at some of these. I have been inspired to make the most of each and every day by a book I read recently by a Swiss writer Marlen Haushofer called ‘The Wall’. An intriguing fictional story about a woman isolated from the world but compelled to survive mainly for the sake of her animals; a message that made a strong impression on me.

    • This looks like such an intriguing book! I did a bit more reading about the author and the story – I’m particularly interested because the book was written in the early ’60’s and it would be interesting to compare it to current dystopian fiction as well as explore the message of isolation and independence. I’m going to check if our library has a copy.

    • Love it – I’ve always got two books on the go as well! I’m just starting to read more mysteries – do you have any favourite authors to recommend? (I like both the really gritty stuff and the cozies).

      • Probably the easiest way would be for you to look at my GoodReads list. It’s on the blog on the right side as a widget or if you are on GoodReads you can find me there. Your chuckle for the day is that I’ve read so many mysteries that I keep a running list so when I go to check one out I look at the list to see if I’ve read it before. When you have to keep track, you know you read a lot. LOL

    • The inchies book is such a great introduction to making them, very useful and full of ideas.

      I keep thinking maybe I ought to take a flower-arranging course, but I suspect I just don’t have an eye for it and maybe it’s not something I could learn. But maybe it’s worth a try anyway….

  3. A good selection of books, thank-you. I see Lavinia mentioned Notes From Walnut Tree Farm by Roger Deakin. All three of his books are real gems. Walnut Tree Farm is a selection of excerpts from his diaries near the end of his life published posthumously by his partner. Waterlog is about his experiences of free swimming around Britain but also much more than that. Wildwood – A Journey Through Trees is my favourite. He talks about trees, the way he reacts to them and other peoples’ reactions in art, science etc. He visits special places in different countries around the world but always returns to home and his own trees. He lived a few miles from where I live and I know many of the places he mentions in his books so that may mean I am biased. I have a friend at church who knew him well and often talks about him. His writing style is lyrical, beautiful and often very funny.

  4. Inchies intruiges me too! I havent had much time for reading this winter, but I’ve been poking through Edith Holden’s Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady. It’s lovely. Also June Flanagan’s edible plants for prairie gardens as i prepare for the new season! Hope you heal quickly!

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